The first bear I saw as a child was in a museum. It was a huge stuffed albino Kodiak. At age five it was really scary even though it was dead.
Perhaps it was the menacing snarl on its face that created the impression. I can still see its wild eyes glairing at me.It was years later when I saw another dead bear up close. A neighbour had shot a black bear which was posing a danger. The bear had been hanging around the back door of his house. It refused to move on.
He had concerns that either he or his wife would surprise it at night. Stepping out of the door face to face with a bear at night could startle or anger the bear, causing it to attack. Coming home at night and walking into the bear on your porch would also have serious consequences. The bear had come by again so was shot some distance from the house. It was a medium size black bear.
It didn't look too threatening as it lay there dead at the edge of a clearing.For a time I lived in bear country while working up north near a huge hydro electric dam. The area contained both black and grizzly bears. The threat from each of those is different. Grizzly bears are territorial and at the top of the food chain.
That means they hunt smaller animals in certain situations. Black bears are less aggressive.I saw the strength and power of a grizzly bear who accidentally climbed into a live bear trap. The trap was used to relocate black bears. It was not meant for grizzlies.
The bear had ripped the whole back end off the trap. He had ripped off a steel door. I took the trap to be repaired at the town welding shop.I live trapped black bears from around town and nearby camp grounds.
The live trap was basically a huge drainage culvert with a wire grate welded at one end and a spring lock door at the other. It was mounted on a small trailer. The trap was baited with old meat thrown out by a cook. Pieces of bacon and sausage were attached to a hook wire connected to a trigger mechanism that tripped the door to slam shut and lock the bear in.
The bear would climb into the culvert area of the trap attracted by the smell of the old meat. When he grabbed the meat on the hook the trap was sprung, slamming the door shut.The bears caught inside the trap would be painted on their back.
This would indicate they had been caught. The bear was then driven away to about half an hour south of town and was released back into the forest in an isolated area.Releasing the bear was very exciting. To be safe I would grab an axe out of the truck's tool box. I would release the latch which locked the trap's door.
A spring still kept the door closed. I would crawl on top of the trap culvert from the side of the trailer. While sitting on the culvert with my axe in hand, I would swing open the traps door and wait for the bear to jump out. The bear never jumped out immediately. It would stand there in the trap and look out of the open door for a few moments.
Eventually, it would stick its head out of the door, then jump to the ground and scamper quickly to the edge of the forest. Often the bear would stop at the tree line and look back at me to see if he was being chased. No danger of that happening. The bears always would follow this pattern when leaving the trap. All they wanted to do was get free and run away..
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Animals.
By: Michael Russell